A bi-coastal nautical thriller with some surprise punches.
First-time novelist Chance pulls out all the stops in this murder mystery set mostly at the New Jersey shore. Just about every letter in the alphabet of criminal acts can be found in these pages: arson, assault, extortion, kidnapping, securities fraud, witness tampering and, for starters, one or two ripe examples of premeditated murder. It opens with Peter â€œPete” Gordon, a recently divorced attorney who's left the chaos of Philly corporate law for the docile suburbs, musing on the horrors of drowning at sea with a little reminiscent foreshadowing of the drama to come. Just a day prior, billionaire Norman Hawkins had engaged Peter's services to help extract one of his sons from the evil clutches of an ultraconservative cult, but the next morning, Norman's body washes up onshore. The death, though seemingly accidental, piques Peter's curiosity, and he sets about unraveling the ornately tangled web that had become his deceased client's professional and personal life. In the process of discovering and then protecting Norman's interests, Peter crosses the country numerous times, endures a few life threatening attacks on his person, and encounters resistance at just about every turn when dealing with the brambly Hawkins heirs. The story, while preponderantly action-driven, is not without realistic characterization and engaging social commentary–the Poirot-like protagonist gracefully thinks through the most convoluted of malfeasance, and he's not opposed to mixing it up with political and corporate heavies, or taking to the water to outwit their Mafioso-like thugs.
A fast-paced, multidimensional good ride–shaved just a hair, it has all the makings of a successful screenplay.